Orla Whooley

Orla is a product designer from Dublin. Her passion for art and design began at an early age, expressing her creativity through painting, drawing and playing with Lego and Meccano. This, and her keen interest in mathematics, problem-solving and 3D modelling led her to study Product Design in TUDublin. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Orla developed skills in teamwork, communication, and prototyping, while gaining work experience in UX design. Studying abroad, Orla took part in a user experience program, in Windesheim University, Zwolle. Taking inspiration from abstract Dutch design, she believes in design from an empathetic and sustainable standpoint.


Pobail is a community street installation with an important and meaningful purpose. The aim of the installation is to promote social engagement through activity by utilising existing infrastructure in residential areas to make use of unused space for gardening.

Elderly people are especially vulnerable to social isolation. 45% of people over the age of 74 reported feelings of loneliness. Social isolation can lead to an increase in health issues including dementia, heart disease, and stroke, and may rival smoking and obesity as a cause of premature death.

Casual social interactions are an important and effective way to prevent social isolation. Pobail is a solution in the public realm that aims to encourage people to socialise at their own pace. It aims to prolong social interactions and promote group activity to help build relationships in a way that is natural and meaningful.

Gardening as an activity is one which people across all age groups draw meaning from but has unfortunately fallen to the wayside for many because of the isolation and culture of fear created by the pandemic. Even in cases where a sole user interacts with Pobail, the installation aims to transform loneliness into a sense of solitude, allowing for a greater sense of emotional self-sufficiency.

Pobail incorporates a kneeler which allows users to reach the flower bed without bending down, decreasing the risk of injury. Support handles, which attach to a lamppost or street sign, aid users in standing back up and reduce the risks of falling. The seating encourages people walking by to stop and rest, creating a space for people to socialise outdoors.

Pobail is designed to be made in a workshop, utilising local manufacturing to benefit the community at all levels of the value chain. Pobail will use natural materials since this is important to users in outdoor environments. The kneeler and seat will be made from cork, due to its renewable, compressible, durable, and impermeable properties. The handles will be made from bent powder-coated steel tubing. The colour was chosen as it contrasts the natural environment, stands out for people with vision impairment and encourages use by provoking the interest of passers-by.

Broken window theory states that more attractive places are less prone to vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. Therefore, the aim of this project was to create an aesthetic installation that communicates a sense of shared ownership and that members of the community can take pride in.

Trash Tetris

“Something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”

- The Fun Theory, Volkswagen

The misuse of recycling, compost, and waste bins in public spaces is a behaviour that works against creating a sustainable community. Dublin City Council’s previous attempts to move to on-street recycling bins has proven to be unsuccessful due to cross-contamination. In some parts of the country, contamination in recycling bins can be as high as 36%.

This poor behaviour is likely to be exhibited in public spaces by individuals with a lack of motivation or information, or a person in a rush and wanting to dispose of their rubbish quickly and without much thought. The impact of this behaviour includes excess steps in sorting of recycling or contaminated loads of recycling ending up in landfill.

Trash Tetris is a public bin designed to make interactions with the user into a game. It turns disposing of waste into something actively fun for users and provokes curiosity of passers-by.

The rubbish being recycled acts as the game controller. Sensors lining the rim of the bin detect the item and its position dictates where the Tetris block is dropped on the screen. To allow the Tetris block to drop slowly and give the user time to see its intended location, it must be held in position, giving the user time to confirm their action before throwing away the rubbish. This extended time acts slows the waste disposal process down, allowing the user to think twice before throwing their litter. The waste bin is labelled as ‘landfill’ to discourage its use, influencing the user to recycle or compost to reduce the feeling of guilt.

The form consists of bent steel sheets, which minimises the number of parts and fixtures required for assembly. The main housing for the bin will be powder coated, which doesn’t generate harmful solvents, unlike traditional wet paint.

A rent-instead-of-buy business model could be implemented. A leasing service is a more sustainable product service system, as once the customer is finished with the product, it can be returned to the supplier and redistributed for a second life.

Trash Tetris aims to provoke curiosity and encourages usage. By improving waste and recycling practices, we can reduce costs associated with sorting recycling and divert recyclable waste from landfill.